Chef David Chang
Executive Chef Sean Alex Gray
#58 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants of 2017
Visited: July 8th, 2017 – Lunch Service
Momofuku Ko, from its inception, has always defied the laws of fine-dining through a youthful yet sophisticated concept showcasing an array of stimulating and provocative dishes.
The name, “Momofuku” means lucky peach in Japanese, and also, a reverence to Momofuku Ando, the inventor of Japanese ramen. In August of 2004, Chef David Chang opened his humble Momofuku Noodle Bar in the heart New York City’s East Village. This was the very first restaurant of his growing Momofuku empire, where his ramen bowls and pork buns simply amassed attention of the food world. Four years later, in March of 2008, Chef Chang opened Momofuku Ko, adding an upscale spot to his repertoire of restaurants.
Bearing Chef Chang’s torch at Momofuku Ko is his stellar team namely Executive Chef Sean Alex Gray along with General Manager Su Wong Ruiz leading the pack.
Upon entering the restaurant, we were instantly greeted by Su and her warm smile. The restaurant possessed a youthful and industrial vibe, with its wooden counter tables, concrete floors, vibrant art pieces plastered on the walls, and Notorious B.I.G. playing in the background. The showstopper was the 18-seat counter seating wrapped around the kitchen, serving as the beating heart of the restaurant. As a foodie, nothing is more appealing than seeing the Chefs in action as they prepare your food.
Various pieces of meat that were curing and/or dry-aging inside Momofuku Ko massive refrigerators.
A Delicious Parting Gift
Momofuku Ko provided an experience that veered away from the traditional nuances of fine-dining. The ambience was relaxed and comfortable rather than stuffy. The execution of food and the combinations of flavours were precisely ingenious, exciting, and sometimes, mind-boggling.
Although Momofuku Ko is owned by Chef David Chang, its daily operations are entrusted to Executive Chef Sean Gray. Chef Gray leads his team at Ko in a manner that reflects his calm and collected personality. The food that he creates combines playfullness with a sense of maturity.
The counter-seating granted us with the insight and appreciation into the intricacies and labour of preparing the components of every dish. It also enabled us to interact and get to know the people responsible for making our food, as well as the attentive and friendly front of the house staff. The GM, Su Wong Ruiz was very hospitable and took good care of us. She took her time to get to know us, and especially to talk about the food – what works, what doesn’t work and how they can improve. Their quest to challenge themselves to be better is a humble trait that I highly admire.